Farmers' Club

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Farmers' Club: Empowering farmers through technology

81 cities, 12.000 villages all over Turkey, Turkey81 cities, 12.000 villages all over Turkey
Project Stage:
$1 million - $5 million
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

We offer a mobile technology service and face to face education to over 1 million farmers all over Turkey. Through our mobile infrastructure, we give farmers vital information related to their land and products; guiding them with meteorological data; informing them about current market prices and conditions and we have a marketing network which connects them to buyers. We also travel from village to village with our 'education truck roadshow'.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Agriculture has a crucial role in Turkey’s economic and social fabric. it provides the livelihoods for one third of the population. Despite this the agriculture sector in Turkey faces structural problems in terms of access to investment, information, and technology. Agricultural employment rates are in steady decline and many farmers are operating without critical agricultural information significantly decreasing their efficiency and product quality. They also remain isolated from alternative markets, relying on the same archaic intermediary mechanisms to sell their crops year after year. Information technologies offer numerous solutions to these problems, yet remain inaccessible for the large majority of farmers.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Farmer’s Club is a partnership between Tarimsal Pazarlama and Vodafone which enables farmers to use the familiar tool of SMS messages. The mobile subscription plan reaches over 1 million farmers offering free phone calls between farmers, SMS alerts with government information on new regulations and financial support, weather forecasts and market price quotes linked to their location and what they produce. Farmers are also offered lower priced handsets, discounts on farm machinery & the chance to advertise their produce, significantly increasing their income, efficiency and sustainability. The education truck has reached 12000 villages giving information about local products and relevant new technology.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

In the Korkuteli district the climate is very difficult for agriculture. Winters are cold and he produce often freezes and fruits fail to form causing a huge loss in profits. Moreover in summer the high humidity was resulting in crop loss due to pests and disease. Even if these products survived these two issues, selling them for their true value was proving extremely difficult due to lack of knowledge about market conditions and prices. Through informing the farmers of ways to overcome the frost (using tree warming processes), providing information about humidity rates, then how combat pests and diseases and finally through connecting them to our marketing network they were able to successfully grow find a good price for their products.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

We aim for the farmer's club model we pioneered to be adopted in 11 further countries by 2015 and as Tarimsal Pazarlama we have held provisional meetings with a Holding group who will lead the expansion in North Africa. Turkey was the first country where Vodafone worked on an agricultural programme and we introduced them to the field of agriculture which they hadn't previously worked in. Since then they have implemented similar projects in 26 countries all over the world including India, Africa and the middle East. Vodafone's projected potential benefits in 2020: include : Additional incremental income for farmers: US$52 billion • Water savings: 6% reduction in freshwater withdrawals • Carbon savings: 1.9 Mt• Anticipated connections to mobile information services: 174 million. This is a direct result of the original co-creation project in Turkey.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

3 years after we started Farmer's club with Vodafone, one similar project developed by Turkcell (Turkey's largest mobile operator) in collaboration with another for profit company came into the market in 2012. However as we (Tarimsal pazarlama) have been working in the field for over ten years we with a solution focused approach which always puts farmers first we have built strong and lasting relationships with the farmers. As a result they have only managed to reach 25,000 farmers compared to our 1.2 million.


A dynamic and mixed team has been key to ensuring the success of the Farmer's Club programme it consists of 1) Tarimsal Pazarlama staff who know farmers and can start, build and sustain relationships with them. 2) Tarimsal Pazarlama staff in the field with strong networks and links to farmer's associations and small local NGOs 3) ) Agricultural engineers who know innovative solutions to farming issues and problems 4) Creative software engineers 5) Technology savvy Vodafone staff to build the communications infrastructure. Top management at both partners have played a key role in the decision making process and in strategy as it has been of crucial importance to both parties.
About the Lead Co-Creation Partners
Vodafone Turkey
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Type of organization (e.g. NGO, association, not-for-profit, foundation, social enterprise)

Social Enterprise

Total Number of Full-Time Employees


Lead Contact First Name


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Organization Name

Vodafone Turkey

Total Number of Full-Time Employees


Lead Contact First Name


Lead Contact Last Name



Mass Social Buss Models Segm.Assoc.Mngr. Postpaid Segment Management



Organization Website
Basic Info
Project Starting Year


Primary European Country where this Project is creating social impact

, XX, 81 cities, 12.000 villages all over Turkey

Additional European countries where this Project is creating social impact


Select the category that best fits the type of your project:

New products & services: Entries in this category develop and offer essentials product and services that address needs currently unmet, Inclusive supply chains: Entries in this category implement efficient, sustainable and inclusive supply chains.

What awards or honors has the project received?

The Farmers’ Club won two silver Mercury Awards in New York 2012, Mediacat Felis Awards Year's Best Media Utilization Award 2013

Project Summary
Co-Creation Model: Tell us about your main strategic partners and how the partnership truly create value. For each Partner please include its type (business/social/public), its name, a short description, its key motivation to participate in the co-creation project, and the key contributions it is making in the co-creation project. Please follow the format displayed below:

-Partner 1
Agricultural Marketing Ltd; Generating substance for Agriculture and Stockbreeding and especially techonolgy supported data spreading.
Tarı - Applying agricultural projects about Agricultural Marketing and News website, SMS wire service, M2M communication system. Publishing agriculture related visual and published broadcast .


The vision of the organisation is to that all of Turkey's 3 million farmers to fully and actively participate in the economy and society. Through this co-creation project we are creating the infrastructure and sustainable resources required to achieve this mission.


Tarimsal Pazarlama, with our extensive networks of farmers in deep knowledge regarding their lives and behaviours, is responsible for the direct management of the project, preparation of appropriate content, direct communication with farmers and ensuring it reaches those who are in need of the information. We are also preparation of educational content for truck and planning which villages to visit and are responsible for the reporting of the project.

-Partner 2
Vodafone : Turkey's second largest mobile operator.


Vodafone have gained a fresh and loyal customer segment in rural areas by getting ahead of their competitors. They have ensured the trust of the farmers by supplying infrastructure and financial support. They have increased customers in this sector (from 17% to 68% as a direct result of the project).


Vodafone create and update the software needed for the SMS and application services and co-create these with tarimsal pazarlama according to the farmer's needs. They increase the reach of the programme by creating PR campaigns and advertising which have appeared in countless national and international newspapers and television programmes (including The Guardian, Daily Telegraph). They also provide the truck for the educational roadshow and supplying the needed financial support to apply the project.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact. Please specify using qualitative and quantitative data (e.g. # of indirect and direct beneficiaries); help us understand how this solution truly makes a difference.

The Vodafone Farmers’ Club service in Turkey uses mobile technology to give farmers the information they need to improve their harvests and livelihoods. We reach 1 .2 million farmers and their families via SMS. So far 250,000 farmers have found new clients for their products. Around 300 million SMS alerts were sent to farmers in 2012/13 and an ‘education truck’ touring Turkish communities helped to improve 25,000 farmers’ knowledge about the benefits of using their mobile to access information to improve their harvests. This has improved Turkish farmers’ productivity by an estimated €190 million in 2012/13 alone. Farmers now have higher quality and higher value products. This has also had a key role in slowing down the rapid rural to urban migration as farmers whose products have gained value have given up thoughts of moving to cities and started to benefit from their environments.

Funding: How is your project financial supported? [select all that apply]

Businesses, Other.

Sustainability Plan: Has your project already reached financial sustainability? If not, what is this solutio’s plan to ensure financial sustainability? Do the main partners have enough stake to sustain the solution? If this project requires limited budget, how will other resources be secured to maintain or grow this work?

The project has reached its financial sustainability goal. Farmers pay $1 for this technological service and as it is sustained and more farmers join up it grows. Through continually innovating and providing new solutions to agricultural programmes and new content and applications we will also keep our current customers.
Therefore, the project finances itself through this system. Moreover, Vodafone must sustain the solution in order to keep their market share of rural farmers (currently at 68%). Our profits are reinvested in other programmes for example 'farmers credit card', 'technovillage' and 'farmer's computer'
We continue to improve our own content and grow our team of staff.

Founding Story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the Partners to get started and/or to see the potential for this to succeed.

Since 2004 I have been personally struggling to solve the problems of farmers (previously outlined) originally the idea was to fix it using internet based solutions. However, farmers lack of access and knowledge made this impossible.Then we realised that the easiest way to reach the farmers is to use cell-phones and that mobile phone operators have a crucial role at this point and that the success of the project depended on a successful co-creation collaboration with a mobile network. When Vodafone realised they could tap into a totally previously unexploited segment of the market they accepted our proposal and we started to build a strategy together.

About the Co-Creation
Barriers: What main barriers may you have encountered to co-create during the creation and implementation of the project and how did you try to overcome them?

As this was Vodafone's first venture into the agriculture field they have been very receptive of our ideas and implementation model. One barrier was that in Turkey there is no official legal entity for social businesses so at the beginning Vodafone had some difficulties understanding exactly what our status was and how to communicate that as part of their CSR. As we worked together and saw the potential of the collaboration this was overcome without any issues.

Governance: What is the type of the relationship between the partners? (e.g. joint venture, contractual relationship, joint project...)

There is an annually renewed contractual relationship between Vodafone and Tarimsal Pazarlama.

Interaction model: How is the project a transformative partnership? How is the interaction transforming the partnering organizations and their employees/ leadership in terms of creating a new vision, new management practices, new skills and new organizational structures? Please provide for concrete examples

We have discovered a way to deliver a project for bigger masses by working together with Vodafone and by making this alliance. We have understood that building the capacity and knowledge of our partner is as important as financial support .In our social businesses we have realised that instead of short-term sponsorships by building management features in institutional firms we can make our support more and more lasting and we have started to implement all projects in this way.
Vodafone has discovered a market it had never realised before and has now expanded to include 26 new countries. As a direct result of this project Vodafone Turkey has created new departments which are The Farmer Segment Department and Social Business Department. Furthermore, they are now producing new projects around women's empowerment using a similar model.

How did you find out about this competition?

Through Ashoka